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The Winter Olympics, in Summer?

(Reprint from News: March 1, 2002)

February 25, 2002

 

That afternoon, I pulled into the seaside town of Portland, the oldest city in Victoria dating back to the 1830’s.  Since this town shares the name of my hometown in Oregon, I decided to spend a night there (even though it didn't start with the letter "B."Well, actually I stayed for two nights, spending most of one day watching the closing ceremonies of the Winter Olympics.

 

The Olympics coverage here has been a lot of fun to watch because the focus, of course, is on the Australian team.  Admittedly, it's a diminutive team because... well... there isn't a whole lot of snow or ice in Australia.  The television feeds are the same as in the U.S. but the commentators are Australians who are all quite proud of their tiny team, and understandably so.  Unfortunately, though, Australia had never won a gold medal in a Winter Olympics -- at least, not until short-track skater Steven Bradbury took to the ice. 

 

As you may have seen, and in what was probably the most unlikely victory of the entire Winter Olympics, Bradbury won the gold medal when the four competitors in front of him bumped into each other and tumbled to the ice on the last lap.  As you can imagine, this country went berserk after Bradbury's gold medal, and then again a few days later when aerial skier, Alissa Camplin, won Australia’s second Winter Olympics gold medal.  For a while, the papers here were joking about the “juggernaut” Australian team having won more gold medals (2) than that like-sounding alpine country, Austria (1).   

 

Above:  Roy and H.G., live from Salt Lake City.

The best part of the Olympics coverage, though, is the hour-long wrap-up show called "The Ice Dream" that’s broadcast every night after the 11 o'clock news. 

 

This light-hearted spoof is hosted by a couple of hilarious middle-aged Aussie guys named Roy and H.G. who've been stationed in Salt Lake City during the Olympics, apparently for the sole purpose of poking fun at the Olympics and (especially) Americans.  On last night's show, they poked fun at the fatty American diet and their studio desk was overflowing with all sorts of good ol' American food, like fried chicken, pizza, greasy hamburgers, and anything else with lots and lots of FAT. 

 

Their upbeat show is broadcast all around Australia and is really popular, among both Aussies and Americans.  It's interesting to see how other countries view America, and I haven't laughed so hard in months.  It’s obvious that Aussies don't take themselves (or anyone else) too seriously, and that’s a refreshing attitude, compared to the intense, litigious, and nose-to-the-grindstone attitudes that are so prevalent back in the U.S. of A.  NBC's multi-billion dollar Olympics coverage, as slick and polished as it is, doesn't hold a candle to Roy and H.G.'s "Ice Dream."

 

 

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